Yes. It is our
cemetery plot. Only the place for one is left. For me.
It was supposed to be for my older brother, but they buried him at the Brothers Capuchins monastery.
They did not even let us know. We found out about it by chance.
In fact, he died for the world a long time ago.
He was much older
than me. And such a learned one.
He became a priest just before the war.
We were so proud when he was back after ordination and got a vicar position here.
Just imagine! A priest in the family!
It was a terrible blow to us when he threw away his cassock soon after the war.
And everything, sir, because of those Jews!
I was a young lad,
but I remember everything.
There were quite a lot of them here before the war. Both rich and poor.
We lived together as next-door neighbors.
They bothered nobody. They had their little synagogue.
Our vicar even often discussed things with their rabbi, although the parson was not very happy about it.
Nobody saw their poor
because they were just like us.
But if one of them was rich, he was visibly rich.
Among those, one could also earn some money on Saturdays.
Oh yes. There were several among them. Quite young.
Their families were terribly despaired about that.
Not enough that they rejected their religion.
They did not recognize the divine orders either.
The worst was in the
They were rich, but their older son, a freak, fancied himself a Bolshevik.
When the police came for him, he was already on the Russkies' side of the border.
When the war began
and the Russkies came, these Jewish communists and several of ours came out to
greet them with red flags. Two of these families, the poor ones, set up a
welcome gate with flowers.
The wealthy and religious Jews preferred to remain invisible.
This young Szejdak
came with the Russians and immediately began to impose a new regime. It was he
who ordered exiling of our teacher.
The teacher was a Polish right-wing nationalist, always talking against the Jews and Bolsheviks. But to send him because of it to Siberia?!
The wealthy Jews were
There was one - his name was Katz. Very rich. He owned a freight company.
He had even bought an old manor house. In its annexes, he housed all his coachmen with their families.
When the Russkies
came, they socialized everything.
Katz, took up, as a cover, a job as a transport escort guard in his old company.
He hid all his assets with the coachmen.
They got an order to guard the "treasure" rooms he secured for himself within each of their flats.
It was quite a story
with his guard job.
Once he took and ate a single cucumber from a cart, and one of the Russkies saw it.
He was immediately accused of stealing the state property and jailed.
One of their prosecutors came over, and they made a public trial.
Everyone was herded
The prosecutor shouted, "Because of the villains like this, the entire Soviet country suffers!". And Katz got ten years of labor camp!
That is how it was with the Russkies.
But the Germans, when they came, they did not make it easy on the Jews.
They broke the legs
of their rabbi and shot those who tried to intervene.
They told us that if it comes to any of our old unsettled scores with the Jews, we could settle them as we like.
It was a hard time
for the Jews.
The cottages owned by Bolshevik families were burned down.
But most of the fun
was with these wealthy Jews.
They even tried to get our parson to defend them.
But the parson shouted only at them and said he would not interfere in private quarrels.
The vicar just shook his head and said nothing.
No. There was no
murder of Jews in our village.
We had just helped to herd them together when the Germans ordered Jews to leave for the ghetto.
And I, along with other boys, chased and found those who tried to hide.
And yes. The people
took all the Jewish property.
Jews did not need them to be happy anyway.
The coachmen got into
these Katz's "treasure" rooms.
They found money, property deeds, debt papers, and much more.
People gorged themselves on it all.
The parson turned a
blind eye to this because the whole village was involved, and besides, he was
in bed, sick.
Everything was on the vicar's head, and he walked around sad.
His sermons in the church about the love of "thy" neighbor were so powerful that shivers ran through a listener's body.
But then people left the church and did the same as before.
And later on, after all these troubles with the Germans and the partisans, who would remember?
And then, after the war, one day that Katz showed up!
When he saw that his
rooms were looted, he was very unsatisfied.
Then he said that he wanted to inspect the rooms alone. No witnesses.
The coachmen agreed
But when he came out from the first room, they caught him.
And when they turned him upside down, the gold fell on the floor!
That SOB had some hidden boxes there!
They tried to make
him talk about other hiding places, but he did not want to say. Even when they
started beating him. So they beat him even harder.
The whole village heard it.
But he just screamed and did not want to say.
Suddenly he stopped
screaming, and nobody had seen him again after that.
The village was dumbfounded. People were afraid to look into each other's eyes...
After the people went
for confessions, the vicar closed himself in the church, where he lay
prostrated and wept all night.
And the next day told the parson that he was going to visit the diocese.
When he came back, he
was wearing civil clothes.
He said he could not be a priest anymore because he let God down.
Good Lord! In what
Because he allowed his flock to turn against God's commandments.
Because he did not react when the village did not observe, "Love your neighbor as yourself". Because he looked at his parishioners when they, as in a horrible nightmare, forgot about, "Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you", and he did not react.
Because he never mentioned in his sermons that it also concerned their Jewish neighbors.
That is why he felt complicit in the murder of Katz and unworthy to be a priest.
In the diocese, they convinced him that if he did not lose faith in God, he
could serve Him differently.
In this way, he found himself with the order of the Capuchins Brothers.
And he stayed there until death...